According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS, 2010), in 2008 50 percent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged over 15 had a disability or long-term health condition. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults were 1.5 times more likely than non-Indigenous Australian adults to have a disability or long-term health condition, and were more than 3 times more likely to have an intellectual disability. In 2008, 7.7 percent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia (more than 25,000) had an intellectual disability. A similar number had a psychological disability.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities often have unique needs, yet they continue to be ‘at the periphery of all aspects of the disability sector’ (Griffis, 2010). The lack of culturally-appropriate disability services and the different understandings of the concept of ‘disability’ in many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities make acknowledgement of the rights and needs of people with disabilities difficult to achieve. Griffis (2010) identifies these other considerations:

  • Identifying as a person with a disability (that is, as a person who will receive disability support or services) is seen to add to the already significant experiences of discrimination that arise from having the label of ‘Aboriginal person’. There is understandable reluctance to take on additional negative labels
  • There are often no comparable words for ‘disability’ in traditional languages, which suggests that the experience of ‘disability’ may have been accepted as part of the normal range of human experience 
  • Aboriginal people and their families can sometimes experience significant stigma due to a cultural belief that disability is the result of ‘married wrong way’ or other wrong doings on behalf of the family or parents. This is more likely in communities where a more traditional lifestyle is practised 
  • The predominant medical model of disability (and the Australian Government’s Close the Gap initiative) has focussed heavily on primary health interventions – in contrast to the social model of disability, which acknowledges and attempts to deal with the social construction of disability and the injustices that contribute heavily to people’s negative lived experience of disability
  • Most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people prefer to seek assistance from Indigenous organisations; few of these provide disability-specific services. 

Cultural awareness is an extremely important aspect of counselling practice with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and the differences in cultural and life experiences between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians can be a big deterrent for Indigenous Australians in seeking assistance from mainstream service providers (Fan, 2007).

The history of mistrust of white Australians since colonisation has a significant impact on Indigenous people’s ability to trust non-Indigenous counsellors in a clinical setting. Where possible, it is important to engage with Indigenous services, community members or family members who can support an individual’s engagement with a counsellor.

Relationships and kinship ties are central to the social and cultural values of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and it is imperative to make connections with and show respect for the family members and wider community that the person belongs to. Developing good networks within the community and with Indigenous service providers will both increase practitioners’ cultural understanding as well as their clients’ levels of trust in individual practitioners as people who care about their lives and want to understand their needs and lived experiences.

Counsellors need to be mindful that not all kinship ties will be helpful or supportive to their clients, and that a lot of people may be unwilling to discuss potentially ‘shameful’ personal issues with a worker if they think that family members will find out. These issues need to be explored and assurances need to be made to the client that family and community are welcome to be involved as much or as little as the client chooses. It might be helpful to ask a trusted person in the client’s life to support them in the initial stages of counselling – to define the meaning of confidentiality for that particular person, whom they want involved, whom they do not want involved, and teasing out the issues of confidentiality and duty of care.

‘Talk-based’ therapies can be difficult for some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, often because practical issues relating to daily living and resources take precedence over more personal, psychological issues (Fan, 2007). The disadvantaged socio-economic and physical living conditions that many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live with are likely to be intensified for people with intellectual disability.

decorative
Multicultural Development Australia (MDA) and the Inclusion Ready Project invite key stakeholders to a workshop about the Information Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) grants. This workshop is specifically designed for CALD services, mainstream organisations and members of the CALD community...
decorative
Queensland Government media release The Palaszczuk Government is offering a share of $150,000 to the organisers of events and activities across the state that recognise the achievements and contributions of people with disability. Minister for Disability Services Coralee O'Rourke announced that...
decorative
The Minister for Disability Services Coralee O'Rourke recently launched Queenslanders with Disability Network's (QDN) new initiative QDeNgage , which is providing consultancy, engagement, training and speakers for Queensland businesses and organisations. QDN recognises that by involving people with...
decorative
The NDIS is now available across Queensland. As a result, from 1 July 2019 the Queensland Community Care Program (QCC) will be replaced by the Queensland Community Support Scheme (QCSS). In preparation, many service providers have been assisting their eligible clients transitioning to the NDIS...
decorative
An information pack is now available to support NDIS providers with understanding the requirements of the quality and safety framework covered by the federal NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (NDIS Commission) from 1 July. The pack lays out the NDIS Code of Conduct, your responsibilities as a...
decorative
Queensland Government media release Businesses, organisations and individuals will be able to better engage with Queenslanders with disability thanks to a new initiative of the Queenslanders with Disability Network. QDeNgage will provide consultancy, engagement, training and speakers for Queensland...
decorative
Queensland Government media release The Palaszczuk Government has launched a $21 million, four-year Wheelchair Accessible Taxi (WAT) fund to encourage taxi operators to make their vehicles accessible and modernise the state’s fleet. More than 600 wheelchair accessible taxis currently operate across...
Two ladies work around a laptop sitting on a desk.
How are you faring? If you are in the disability sector workforce the WorkAbility Queensland project wants to know what you think, and why you feel the way you do. The project is asking all frontline workers to get involved and take part in the Feelings from the Frontline - Workforce Barometer...
decorative
Queensland Government media release The Palaszczuk Government has stepped in to ensure the Taxi Subsidy Scheme for National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants continues over the coming year. Deputy Premier and Treasurer, Jackie Trad, said a further $6 million would be committed in 2019...
decorative
The National Disability Strategy 2010-2020 is about creating a more inclusive society that enables Australians with disability to fulfil their potential as equal citizens. When the strategy ends in 2020, governments across Australia will be working together to develop a new approach for the future...

Pages

Are you looking for support in Queensland, or trying to find a service that meets your needs? Now you can search oneplace , the service directory hosted by the Queensland Family and Child Commission. oneplace is an easily accessible directory of community services to help Queensland families to get...
Peak organisation for community services organisations supporting people with a disability. www.nds.org.au
Queensland Government web portal with resources to support people with a disablity. www.qld.gov.au/disability
Queensland government departmental website www.communities.qld.gov.au/disability
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIFW) published Australia's Welfare in October 2017. The report provides an authoritative overview of the wellbeing of Australians, examining a wide range of relevant topics. Read the report here.
Legal Aid have a series of captioned recordings about Legal Aid Queensland services on their YouTube channel . Videos for community, health and education workers can be found here and include their published community legal education webinars. Upcoming webinars can be found on the Information for...
The Queensland Disaster Management website and the Get Ready website have a range of information and useful resources that can assist you to plan and prepare for an emergency. As part of your preparedness and planning for weather events, access regular weather forecast updates from the Bureau of...
To help prepare service providers for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) the Queensland Government, with support from the Sector Development Fund, has developed tools and resources to support organisations to respond to consumer demand in the NDIS. The project was delivered by the Nous...
The Queensland Government has introduced an online Queensland NDIS events calendar to connect Queenslanders with disability, their families and carers, businesses and service providers with NDIS related events across the state. The new tool allows people to search for events by region or audience (...
Carers Queensland, in collaboration with Queensland Aged and Disability Advocacy (QADA), the Public Trustee, the Office of the Public Guardian and Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT), has launched a series of five new videos to help people better understand advocacy and legal...
The Yarning Circle is a collection of stories about and by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with a disability. These stories were produced to provide information about the state-wide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Disability Network and to start a conversation about the NDIS and...
How to Hear Me is a a resource kit for counsellors and other professionals working with people with intellectual disabilities. It was developed by WWILD Sexual Violence Prevention Association Inc. BROWSE ONLINE: How to Hear Me DOWNLOAD PDF: How to Hear Me
The Complex Communication Needs booklet was produced in an acknowledgement of the impact that skilled communication partners can have on the success of communication. It aims to share information about what the term "complex communication needs" means, the perspectives of some people with complex...
Ramp Up in the ABC's new online destination for news, discussion, debate and humour for everyone in Australia's disability communities. Whether you live with a disability, are a friend or family member of someone with a disability, work in the sector or just want to get a better picture, this is a...
Power of Attorney A power of attorney is a formal document allowing someone else to make decisions on your behalf; both personl and financial. This person can apply for a Domestic Violence Order on the behalf of someone experiencing domestic and family violence. The Powers of Attorney Act 1998...
All service providers operating in Queensland are required to comply with the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 . The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) has jurisdiction to hear and decide complaints about contraventions of this Act. Frequently Asked Questions There are also...
There are a range of legal structures which may be suitable for Queensland not-for-profit community groups. The four main options are: an incorporated association: Associations Incorporation Act 1981 (QLD) and Associations Incorporation Regulation 1999 (QLD) a company limited by guarantee:...
decorative
Author: 
Louise Mullins, Queensland Council of Social Service

Did you know as many as one in five Queenslanders has a disability? Every day, some face barriers to participating in their own community.

Everyone has a role to play in creating a more inclusive Queensland, whether as an individual, through business or as a member of a community group....

decorative
Author: 
Natalie Siegel-Brown, Public Guardian

As the Queensland Public Guardian I am pleased to announce the inaugural opening of the Queensland Public Guardian’s Excellence Awards.

As Public Guardian, I want to acknowledge the exemplary work being undertaken by staff in the community services sector across the...

decorative
Author: 
Sharon Daley, QCOSS

International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD) is held on 3 December each year.

It is a United Nations (UN) sanctioned day, celebrated internationally and aiming to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability, as well as to celebrate the...

Carer helping senior woman
Author: 
Marlene Butteriss, QCOSS

An essential element of person centeredness is to think about issues of power and control. With true person centred approaches, including individualised or self-directed funding models, people with a disability and those who care about them must be the ones that are in control and have authority...

Author: 
Jim Haywood, Centacare Brisbane

At a time of significant disruption in the community services sector, many organisations are rightly focused on defining their inventory and consolidating their market position. The idea of collaboration or partnership in an increasingly competitive market seems nonsensical to many agencies....

Ring of paper children including some in wheelchairs
Author: 
Kristian Schader, Calxa

With the impending roll-out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) looming large in Queensland, some Not-For-Profit service providers in the Townsville region are expressing a feeling of isolation and of being somewhat disconnected.

Responding to this need, Calxa...

""
Author: 
Marlene Butteriss, Queensland Council of Social Service

Most people plan life in some way or other. Whether we use paper planners for day to day organisation, plan each month by the moon cycles, or develop a detailed five year plan about meeting goals, people generally have some way of keeping track of what goals they are planning and what steps they...

Author: 
Marlene Butteriss, Queensland Council of Social Service

With so much talk over the last couple of years about people with a disability and their family having more ‘choice and control’ over the supports and services they receive there have been some new terms and concepts introduced like self-direction, self-managed and self-directed funding. Some...

Carer
Author: 
Marlene Butteriss, Queensland Council of Social Service

When talking about how services work with, support and connect with people with a disability, the idea of being ‘person centred’ has been around for a long time. It’s a pretty easy term to understand, but a little harder to put into practice.

Why focus on person centred...

A screenshot of the Care Opinion website
Author: 
Michael Greco, Care Opinion Australia

Care Opinion is an independent, not-for-profit new web site which enables people to post their experiences of local social care services online, and in public (eg aged care, youth and disability care). ...

Pages

See videos from StudioQ related to this topic

Share or Print